Berlin -

A blaze that ripped through a camel farm for tourists in Germany's Black Forest region has killed 86 of the animals, police said on Thursday.

Only five camels survived the barn fire at the Rotfelden farm, said the devastated owner Wilhelm Breitling, 74.

“In two hours, my life's work was destroyed,” said a tearful Breitling, who has travelled in North Africa and other regions to study camels since the 1970s.

About 100 firefighters rushed to the scene of the blaze around 2am at Ebhausen village near Stuttgart in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Experts believed the blaze, fuelled by mountains of straw, reached temperatures of 1 500 to 1 800 degrees centigrade.

“Everything happened incredibly fast,” said a police spokesman.

The cause of the fire at what was believed to be Germany's largest camel farm was not immediately clear. The damage was estimated at 1 million to 2 million euros (1.35 million to 2.7 million dollars).

The camel farm drew about 30 000 visitors a year, mostly children with their families, who could go on camel rides through the scenic countryside and pet baby animals. - Sapa-dpa